ENVINET (European network for arctic-alpine multidiciplanary environmental research) is a research infrastructure network focusing on multidisciplinary environmental research in Europe. The network involves representatives from 18 environmental research infrastructures from the European Alps to the Arctic, representatives of their users and representatives from relevant international organizations and networks. The participating infrastructures cover a broad range of environmental sciences primarily within atmospheric physics and chemistry as well as marine and terrestrial biology.
The ENVINET project directory covers data and observation activities at these stations.
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Sea ice is a dominant feature of marine ecosystems in the Arctic. Its presence directly or indirectly impacts Arctic marine ecosystems, especially on the shelves where benthic and pelagic systems are extensively coupled. If the extent and thickness of sea ice continue to decline, we predict a shift in the type of algal material reaching the benthos (from ice algae to phytoplankton), which will potentially impact the food requirements of the benthos. We have several pieces of evidence showing that both types of ice algae (below-ice ice algae dominated by Melosira arctica and within-ice ice algae dominated by Nitzchia frigida) presently reach the benthos in significant quantities. What we don’t know, and what we propose to address is: “What is the digestibility of ice algae and phytoplankton-derived organic matter by the Arctic macrobenthos?” From the perspective of a macrofaunal organism, digestibility includes three separate components: 1) selection (is encountered organic material ingested or rejected?); 2) absorption (is ingested organic material absorbed during passage through the gut, or does it get egested in the feces?); and 3) assimilation (is absorbed organic material assimilated into biomass?). We propose a series of hypotheses to guide our assessment of digestibility: H1: There is no difference in the quality of ice algae and phytoplankton as food for benthic organisms. H1i: There is no difference in the long-term assimilation of ice algae and phytoplankton by benthic organisms of different trophic groups (suspension feeders, deposit feeders, omnivores). H1ii: There is no difference in the short-term absorption efficiency among different trophic groups feeding on phytoplankton and ice algae. H2: The response of benthic organisms to ice algae and phytoplankton as food sources is the same when assessed on a Pan-Arctic scale. Assessment of long-term assimilation of the various types of algae (within-ice ice algae; below-ice ice algae; and phytoplankton) will be conducted by determining lipid biomarkers and their isotopic ratios, and by determining CHN and protein signatures of organisms collected during all aspects of the work (summer ’02; spring ’03; fall ’03; and summer ’04 in both Norway and Kotzebue, Alaska). Assessment of short-term absorption will first use the ash-ratio method in a whole core delivery experiment. Following the whole-core experiments, dominant taxa from each trophic group will be identified and used in a comparison of 1) absorption efficiencies as calculated by the ash-ratio method, and 2) carbon retention efficiencies as calculated using a pulse-chase radiotracer approach. Finally, we will repeat the dominant taxa absorption efficiency experiments in both Svalbard, Norway at the Ny Ålesund lab and in Kotzebue Sound, Alaska.
This project will examine benthic processes in arctic and mid-latitude regions in order to derive specific conclusions on the sensitivity of benthic organisms and communities to acute spills of petroleum-related chemicals and routine releases of drill cuttings. We will carry out a series of controlled experiments on whole sediment communities and individual benthic organisms with additions of drill cuttings and petroleum-associated contaminants, arriving at a set of hypotheses on the likely impacts on the benthos of petroleum production activities at higher latitudes. A series of testable hypotheses will be formulated based on an examination of real-world monitoring data sets collected under Norway’s Petroleum Regional Monitoring Programme and results of mesocosm experiments performed previously at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) Station at Solbergstrand. These data sets will be examined in order to identify the geographic scope of responses to petroleum industrial activities. Through this work, we intend to propose procedures to improve the interpretation of benthic monitoring data for diverse environmental regions in Norway. The project is linked to several on-going NFR projects within the Polarklima programme. By involving a Ph.D. student the project will advance the education and training of young scientists in the field of biological effects studies related to petroleum development and exploration activities.
The 2003 field activity will be mainly dedicated to coring activity which includes: 1. the sampling of snow and ice cores from a Ny-Ålesund nearby glacier (midre Lovenbreen). 2. the collection of near coast (Kongsfjorden) and lakes sediments (maximum under pack depth 30 m). Sampling collection of ice and sediment cores will be performed using a portable, electric operated, sampling corer. The transport of all materials up to each sampling station should be performed with snowcats.
The project investigated small-scale biotic interactions between laminated microbial communities and meiofauna at light-exposed sediment-water boundaries of estuarine lagoons. The production and biological structure of these systems is mainly determined by complex processes at the sediment-water interface which depend on finely scaled patterns, requiring appreciation of how the biota interact within these scales. We tested whether changing light conditions and active emergence of the harpacticoid species Mesochra lilljeborgi and Tachidius discipes are mediated by the activity of benthic oxygenic and anoxygenic phototrophic microbes. Two hypotheses were tested which addresses to the question of causality between changing light conditions and active emergence of the harpacticoid copepods. (1)The harpacticoid copepods T. discipes and M. lilljeborgi will enter the bottom water during daylight when oxygenic photosynthesis of cyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae is blocked and conditions at the sediment-water interface have turned anoxic. (2)Both species will not emerge during dark exposures when transferred to sterilized sediments.
The main objective was to investigate the importance of the sediment as a nutrient source for blooms of nuiscance filamentous algae. Nutrient fluxes from the sediment were hypothesised to be of greater importance in maintaining algal biomass than were nutrients originating from the overlying water column. We aimed to assess the relative importance of algal mats on sediment geochemistry and nutrient release under stillwater and controlled flow conditions. Using nutrient fluxes as a surrogate for ecosystem function, we wished to investigate the role of species richness in maintaining the integrity of nutrient diagenesis. In this context, it is not necessarily the number of species that is important in maintaining nutrient supply to algal blooms, but the contribution individual species make to mediate nutrient release.
The aims of the project are: - to evaluate the fluxes of radionuclides in the water column and their accumulation in the sediment, on a short-time scale; - to determine the C/N and delta13C-delta15N ratios in suspended and sedimentary matter, and test their use as tracers of origin, composition and transformation pathways of organic particles. The selected study area is the Kongsfjord-Krossfjord system, Svalbard, considered as representative test-site for studying processes occurring in Arctic fjords. The focus of the project will be on the processes occurring at the glacier-sea interface, where enhanced lithogenic and biogenic particle fluxes are reported in summer. Specific methods will be used to trace the particle sources. The rate of accumulation-resuspension processes will also be investigated from the inner fjord to the outer continental shelf.
The activity pattern is recorded by new techniques of real-time video tracking of the benthic activity. Electronic intelligent sensors allow the time analysis of benthic numeric objects with intensive automated recording sessions. We record the natural behaviour of several animals over 24h cycles. We also look into possible antagonistic behaviour, i.e. how animals feed when they have tubes close to each other and when feeding may occur in the same patches. Comparison is made between active motile surface deposit feeders and tubicolous surface deposit feeders. Activities of Amphiura filiformis, A.chiajei (motile burried Ophiuroids) and Melinna cristata (tubicolous Polychaete) are extracted by image analysis and quantified. Amphiura activity is restricted to its deposit feeding mode and no suspension feeding is present in the experiments. We also examine how addition of phytoplankton to the sediment will affect the feeding activity and if Amphiura and Melinna can locate patches of food. Dynamics of the response to food addition is studied.
To asses the utility of a new range of microelectrode sensors in measuring the flux rates of oxygen and nutrients across the sedimentary diffusive boundary layer and into and through macrofaunal tubes and burrow structures.
Dose-response experiments using 5 different sediment concentrations of fluoranthene (Flu) and pyrene (Py) respectively. Measuring radioactive marked Flu and Py in brittlestars and polychaetes and microbial degradation of Flu and Py in sediment. Also growth rate of brittlestars and polychaetes and determination of regenerationtime of brittlestar-arms.
To survey and characterise the occurrence of biogenic reefs of cold-water corals in the Minch: • Conduct side scan sonar survey of ridge feature east of Mingulay. • Ground-truth the sonar results with targeted camera / ROV deployments. • Repeat this survey at other locations to examine how widespread this habitat may be in the Minch. • Sample live coral and rubble zones with minimally invasive video-directed grab sampling. • Report on findings and present summary data in a GIS compatible format (ArcView).
Deep-burrowing crustaceans – density dependent effects on sediment chemistry Some thalassinidian crustaceans burrow exceptionally deep into the anoxic part of marine sediment where molecular diffusion normally dominates chemical transport. In this study we use tracers and microsensors to monitor the impact of such deep bioturbation. By introducing oxygen as well as advective transport to the buried material a large volume of the sediment is affected by one single burrow, and as animal density increases overlapping effects on sediment chemistry are inevitable. The relationship between burrow density and chemical impact are thus studied and modeled. Combined effect of sediment-associated compounds on marine benthic macrofauna This project investigates sub-lethal effects of complex chemical mixtures in both pristine and contaminated marine sediments. Bioturbated sediment comprises a spatially and temporally dynamic mosaic of redox reactions. By using voltammetric microelectrodes that concurrently measure, in situ, a suite of compounds involved in early diagenesis it is possible to obtain the resolution needed to study such complex and dynamic systems. The combined effects of sediment-associated compounds are primarily studied on two marine mud-shrimps, Calocaris macandreae and Upogebia deltaura. The animals’ behavioral and toxicological responses to dynamic solute matrices and associated (scavenged) anthropogenic heavy metals are studied in boxcore (microcosm) experiments. Particular attention is given to quantifying concentration-response relationships and thresholds, and in identifying physiological mechanisms, with respect to ecologically relevant chemical mixtures. Effects of chemical mixtures on the embryonic development in lobster eggs Here we look at the combined effect of diagenetically generated solutes on the embryos of two decapod lobster species, Homarus gammarus and Nephrops norvegicus. Chemical dynamics in and around egg clutches are studied in detail, using microsensor-technology. Physiological and morphological parameters are monitored to estimate effects on development in embryos exposed to chemical mixtures both in vivo and in vitro. Adult female behavioral response, genetic and ecological differences are also investigated.
The research encompass many various aspects of benthic infaunal processes: effects of faunal bioturbation and irrigation activity in differnet faunal successional stages on sediment chemistry; trapping and transformation of organic matter by different functional groups population interspecific competition effects of oxygen deficiency on benthic habitat succession and infaunal behaviour analysed by in situ sediment profile imaging and in laboratory experimets the importance of infaunal activity and food quality on the fate of organic contaminants chemical communication in amphiurid (brittle-star) populations.
Although the most visible effect of fish cage aquaculture is the output of particulate organic waste, 80% of the total nutrient losses from fish farming are plant-available as potentially eutrophicating substances. This project will assess the ability of commercially important seaweeds, cultivated in the immediate vicinity of caged fish, to reduce the impact of such nutrient releases. The algae cultivated in high nutrient sites will be tested as a food source for humans and for cultivated shellfish, and a model of the distribution of dissolved contaminants from sea-cage fish farms will be developed to predict the impact of introducing algal cultivation at any site.
The main research goal of this project is focused on trophic interactions within microbenthic communities in aquatic systems. Grazer-microalgae interactions are investigated by conducting field and laboratory experiments in order to get a closer idea of the microphytobenthos community structure itself. Especially the role of morphological and physiological adaptations of microalgae in the presence of specific meio- and macrofaunal predators are of great interest. In addition to that we have devised a new benthic sensor for the quantitative and qualitative assessment in situ of diverse populations of microphytobenthos with high spatial and temporal resolution, enabling rapid evaluation of the community structure and distribution.
The goal is to understand, how bacteria in Arctic sediments are adapted to low temperature and how (climatic) changes of temperature may affect the rate and pathways of carbon cycling and the balance of mineral cycles. The diversity and physiology of bacterial populations of fjord sediments on West-Spitzbergen will be studied by a combination of molecular (16S rRNA sequence analyses and in situ hybridization) and microbiological (isolation and physiology of pure cultures) approaches. The metabolic activity of these bacteria in the sea floor and the temperature regulation of the dominant mineralization processes will be analysed by experimentel techniques during the research period in Ny Ålesund. The focus will be on the enzymatic cleavage of polymeric carbohydrates, the anaerobic respiration through sulfate reduction, the reduction of iron and mangenese oxides, and the turnover of volatile fatty acids and hydrogen. Subsequently, psychrophilic bacteria are isolated from the anoxic sediments and studied in pure culture. The bacterial populations in the sediment are studied by molecular methods to analyze their diversity and metabolic activity.
To distinguish between atmospheric and marine transport of contaminants to northen latitudes by comparison inventories of lake and fjordic sediments.
1. To quantify benthic community parameters for all size classes of fauna across the Oxygen Minimum Zone (OMZ) 2. To make a detailed assessment across the OMZ of a) sediment accumulation, mixing and irrigation rates and depths and b) environmental factors acting as controls on faunal activity 3. To characterise solid phase and porewater geochemistry of sediments across the OMZ 4. To assess a) faunal digestive Organic Matter (OM) alteration, b) the relative importance of chemo- and photosynthetic food sources, and c) benthic food web structure, across the OMZ 5. To determine porewater profiles and benthic solute fluxes in situ, and to assess faunal OM assimilation and trophic relationships by monitoring tracers during shipboard and in situ incubations 6. To obtain high resolution porewater profiles of oxygen and other key analytes, free of pressure and other effects potentially introduced by core recovery 7. To determine in situ oxygen consumption rates and benthic fluxes 8. To use labelled tracers to assess mixing and irrigation rates, faunal OM assimilation, and size-selective ingestion and mixing 9.To determine sediment denitrification and sulfate reduction rates and their contributions to OM remineralisation
1. To undertake a review of procedures used in the regulation and monitoring of marine cage fish farms in Norway, Scotland and elsewhere to be used as the basis for creating an appropriate set of protocols, monitoring systems and techniques for the control of such farms in Mediterranean conditions 2. To carry out a field research programme to provide appropriate data on the environmental impact of marine cage fish farms in a range of conditions in the eastern Mediterranean. 3. To develop a predictive model to simulate the environmental response at Mediterranean sea cage farms to differing cage stocking levels and feeding regimes. This will be designed as a management tool for both the industry and regulatory authorities.
1. To compare temporal influences of environmental variables (e.g. depth temperature, contaiminats) on species and families 2. To corroborate inferences made from the previous two datasets. We hope to determine whether temperature is still the most important variable influencing the macrofauna 3. To analyse between temporal and spatial trends to determine whether there has been any significant change in the benthic community structure, especially at stations near past exploration activity 4. To compare results with those from the South of the Faroe Islands being collated by Daniel Jacobsen of the University of Copenhagen.
1. To generate high-resolution quantitative palaeoceanographic/palaeoclimatic data from NE Atlantic coastal/shelf sites for the last 2000 years using a multidisciplinary approach 2. To develop novel palaeoclimatic tools for shallow marine settings by (i) calibrating the proxy data against instrumental datasets, (ii) contributing to transfer function development, and (iii) then to extrapolate back beyond the timescale of the instrumental data using the palaeoclimate record 3. To investigate the link between late Holocene climate variability detected in the shelf/coastal regions of western Europe and the variability of the oceanic heat flux associated with the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation, and to compare such variability with existing high-resolution terrestrial proxies to help determine forcing mechanisms behind such climate change 4. To lay a foundation for the identification of hazards and resources linked with, or forced by, such climate change.